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Rare tansy beetle on River Ouse receives a helping hand

Tuesday 14th February 2012

Tansy beetle - Credit Jonathan Proud

The rare tansy beetle, found only on the banks of the River Ouse which runs through York, is to be helped thanks to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s new Vale of York project.

With funding from Biffaward and Peter DeHaan, the Trust plans to improve the wetland habitat around the river banks for wildlife, with a focus on insects. Biffaward is a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

In the UK the rare tansy beetle is only known to exist in small populations along Yorkshire’s River Ouse, although records have shown they were once found at Wicken Fen near Cambridge too. In addition they can be found in some countries in continental Europe, although these populations are in decline.

The two year project will see conservation work going ahead on twelve sites around the Ouse, to include the restoration and creation of ponds, planting of shrubs and tackling invasive species like Himalayan balsam which competes with tansy plants on which the tansy beetle relies for food. It isn’t just the tansy beetles that will profit from this work either, but the numerous birds, small mammals and reptiles which use the river as their home too. Playful otters, a firm favourite of many, are among the species that will benefit, often seen by passers by as they walk the footpath along the river near the Millennium Bridge. The project will also manage some of the floodplain meadows to ensure we have a diverse selection of wild flowers for bees and butterflies.

Project Officer Claire Jackson said:
“This is a brilliant project to be part of as insects play a huge role in our ecosystem. Knowing that we can improve and create habitats for insects that other species will also benefit from is a really good feeling.”

To help with the delivery of this great project we have teamed up with the countryside officer from City of York Council to ensure we can improve as much habitat as possible! We will definitely need some willing helpers too so if you would like to get involved or would like to know more about the project please contact Claire Jackson or call the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust office on 01904 659570.

Tagged with: River Ouse, Tansy beetle, Vale of York